I have been reading about depth-of-field and presume to have a sufficient understanding of what it means and how it is related to lens properties, lens aperture, focal length, sensor format size and probably even print dimensions in case the picture is being printed. I do have a question about how/if depth-of-field depends on the dimension of a pixel. Let me elaborate:
Given two sensors with differing pixel sizes: x and 4x, the latter sensor integrates more light per-pixel than the former, however, it might have a lower resolution if the sensor dimensions remain fixed. Theory suggests that the depth of field is determined by those circles-of-confusion which are very close to being an in-focus point, and this perhaps also means that these very small CoCs fall within the integration area of the same pixel. Now when a CoC becomes larger than a pixel (like also in the case of diffraction blur), there is some spreading of intensities among neighboring pixels and this would clearly lead to blur. However, if one was using the 4X sized pixel, even with a slightly larger CoC, the intensity would still integrate into the same pixel area, and would thus perhaps be in-focus? Is this the right assumption? And if so, is there any analysis of pixel-area dependence of depth-of-field? Moreover, depth-of-field is in some sense independent of the integration medium as it clearly occurs in analog film devices as well, so is there a trade-off or a difference in depth-of-field between film and digital cameras?
Please point me to the correct references for this question. Please correct me if there seems to be a fundamental issue with the assumptions made above.